Samelco: ‘Pass on’ charges spike January bill

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Friday, February 14, 2014


CALBAYOG CITY -- The Samar I Electric Corporation Inc. (Samelco I) said Thursday (February 13) that the sharp increase in power rates recently was due mainly to the P3.65 per kilowatt hour (kWh) “pass on” charges of the Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm) for the December-January period.

Samelco I officer-in-charge general manager Placida Balios said the P3.65 kWh charge, including the value-added tax (VAT), affected the transmission system charge, which jumped from around P11 kWh on December to around P15 kWh on the controversial “January bill.”

“Impact sa consumer increase talaga, pero sa amon 'pass on' la… tungod san pag charge san Psalm,” said Placida, adding the increase is not permanent owing to the volatile nature of the power market.

She said they are expecting bill adjustments in the coming months “kay makikita man iton san Psalm kon nag over or under charge sa amon (Psalm finds out if there is overcharging or undercharging in our part).”

As to the amount, Placida could not give estimates because Psalm and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) have not given any figures yet.

She said Psalm could have sourced its power from Independent Power Producers (IPP), which charged higher rates, and not from the Whole Sale Stock Market (WESM).

Psalm is the government power broker that supplies electricity to Samelco I and other power cooperatives in the country, and regulated by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC).

In capsule, Placida said the “pass on” charge was material to the January bill as it was included in the current P5.6163 transmission charge from P1.91 last month.

Asked if the City Government has any action on the issue, Mayor Ronald Aquino said he will talk to the Samelco I manager.

Another factor that contributed to the spike was the seven to 10 days delay in meter reading, which added to about 25-30 percent consumption on top of the December 18-January 18 cut-off period.

“Actually gin kita namon sa period covered…when we received the bill, naghulat kami san one week kay siring san Psalm they will evaluate… an problema kay wara gin serve nga bill after seven days and we decided to pass on (Actually, we looked into the period covered… when we received the bill, we waited for one week because Psalm said they will evaluate… the problem was that it served no bill after seven days and we decided to pass on),” she said, adding that the period also fell on a holiday and fiesta season, when power consumption is usually high.

Samelco I had already requested billing adjustments from Psalm for the review of said irregular billing.

As to refunds, Placida said the current bill could not be refunded because of billing adjustments on the following months, adding that if ever ERC mandated Psalm to refund through credit limit, then Samelco will do the same to its consumers.

Samelco I submits a monthly report to ERC. (Gerwin Babon/CalbayogPost)

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